Increased Risks in Driving Computerized Cars

With this new era that brings computerized cars into everyone’s lives, the risks are also increased with the use of them. These risks come in the form of illegal tracking, distraction of drivers, and even computer hacking.

It is a fact that since cars have more computerized parts, they contain a lot of programming code that exceeds the code found in a regular space shuttle! This means that each car’s computerized system is basically equal to 30 computers! With more computerized cars on the road, this also means more vehicle-to-vehicle communications and external vehicle-to-traffic infrastructure communications that will surely pose threats to many consumers and users of these cars. This is something everyone should be concerned about, warns the International Business Machines (IBM).

One such instance is that there is a general trend of many car industries to develop cars that drive themselves (e.g. General Motors) or traffic light intelligence that forewarns drivers about traffic light changes upon approach (e.g. the city of Ingolstadt in Germany). This is done through satellite systems to reduce traffic violations and increase the efficient use of gasoline. Companies like International Business Machines, along with FleetBoard and Hughes Telematics, have already applied for a patent for a traffic light system that controls computerized cars wirelessly.

Monitoring Licensed Drivers

Although this kind of technology directs civilization towards more fuel efficient and traffic law-compliant highways, the capital investment is high. Basically, all licensed drivers will be monitored, but that means higher costs in the new computerized car units of the future. These units will not only be controlled externally, they will pass this control onto the drivers themselves. For instance, in a green city that monitors carbon dioxide emission allowances, this particular system can actually shut down a car whose owner has reached his allocated CO2 allowance. This forces him to take other forms of transportation for the rest of the time his used-up allocation is valid.

Studies in the University of California and the University of Washington have proven how a simple laptop’s manipulation of a car’s computerized system can shut down the whole car’s functions to the point of brake-locking to completely disable mobility. This has many positive and negative implications in wireless two-way communication of cars and external systems. Some people have even been able to decode car computerized systems in some automobiles as demonstrated by New Scientist reports.

Threats in Security

Two of the biggest issues in driver safety today are in the form of driver distraction and information security when it comes to computerized cars. These are some things that need to be addressed by both technology industries and car industries. Having quirks and errors in a car’s computer system pose higher dangers than when compared to errors that happen in our small gadgets, like PDAs and cellular phones. Car computer errors can cause accidents or even give other people malicious ways of tracking you, which is why a strong and intuitive system that is fail-proof is really a primary need in this particular industry.

There has been a prediction that this kind of state-of-the-art car technology will be the norm by 2016, but it also poses a high security risk to consumers and users everywhere if the system is not perfected. However, there are some useful safety features that may come in handy in the future, such as dampening car phone signals to prevent traffic accidents. Another feature to look forward to is the updating of the car, to the driver, of car functions and diagnostics (e.g. brake safety, basic tune-ups, etc.) and airbag deployment that is automated. Such advantages already have a name: ADAS or Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, which will keep drivers free from risk, but will also limit their freedom in driving whenever and however they please. To date, the development is already underway with automobile diagnostics and re-routing of directions to avoid traffic, which can be checked on your smart phone, and which is already offered by Hughes Telematics.

Driver-less Automobiles

It is a wave of the future to have cars that drive themselves and give drivers the luxury of sitting back and enjoying the ride. This is truly a luxury and a convenience to address the problem of driver distraction and the occurrence of accidents. Toyota is developing a Lexus that will parallel park by itself, and one United States university has developed an automobile that basically drives competently through intersections, parks itself, merges lanes, and does a whole range of other functions all on its own.

It is a goal for General Motors to develop a car by 2020 to free a driver from distractions that normally cause road accidents (e.g. talking on the phone, listening to music, watching the game on a portable TV, etc). With this kind of car that drives itself and is connected wirelessly through the internet, future consumers can look forward to a driving experience that is more relaxing, entertaining, and risk-free.

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